Dave Reid
Eyes on Milwaukee

City Authority Okays New Beerline Buildings

RACM approves two apartment buildings with 113 units that will increase density on N. Commerce St.

By - Oct 18th, 2013 03:17 pm
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Walker's Landing viewed from the Northeast. Rendering by Engberg Anderson.

Walker’s Landing viewed from the Northeast. Rendering by Engberg Anderson.

Kendal Group Ltd. is planning to build two apartment buildings, known as Walker’s Landing, that would range from five to six stories high and would contain up to 113 dwelling units, at 2056 N. Commerce St. Representatives from the Kendal Group appeared before the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee yesterday requesting a change to the maximum allowable density for the site, because the proposal exceeds the Beerline’s Master Plan maximum of 40 dwelling units per acre.

Greg Patin, of the Department of City Development, explained that although this request would increase the density of this particular site, the overall density of the Beerline plan area would accommodate this change as other sites, such as the Beerline Townhomes (21 dwelling units per acre), are below the maximum allowed.  He added that as this is a “major transit corridor,” density at this location is desirable, and that “it [the proposal] really meets the plan quite well.”

Board commissioner Kathryn West raised concerns over the traffic generated by the project and its impact on the existing congestion at N. Commerce St. and N. Humboldt Blvd. Neighborhood residents were in attendance but technically unable to testify as the meeting was not a public hearing (as no notice had been published). But despite this some interjected with concerns over traffic. Also, Michael Holloway, an area resident and former Department of City Development staffer, interjected that if allowed to speak he would likely “support the project,” but was upset he was denied the opportunity.

Vanessa Koster of the Department of City Development addressed the traffic concerns, saying she  believed the Department of Public Works and city engineer will find the increase traffic acceptable. She also indicated that DPW will take a look at traffic issues being raised.

The designer of the two buildings, Eric Ponto, of Engberg Anderson, explained the design tries to “break down the massing,” and that it will use high quality materials such as reclaimed Chicago Pink bricks and reclaimed timber.

Ken Miller, President of Kendal Group Ltd., touted the quality of the proposed building, comparing it to classic highly regarded Third Ward buildings: “this is a Third Ward building put on a boat and floated down the river,” he quipped. In an interview with Sean Ryan of the Business Journal, Miller said “the river, it was a draw for us,” and in an earlier interview about Kendal Lofts, a Kendal Group’s development in downtown Waukesha he told Christopher Kuhagen of Waukesha Now, “the river was a draw for us.” Clearly, river-side development projects attract the Kendal Group.

Miller laid out the timeline for the project. Kendal Group will close on the property this year and then comes demolition of two industrial buildings on the site, environment mitigation, construction of a seawall and pilings, and finally the building could start “going vertical” in June 2014.

Despite concerns over the additional traffic generated by development the redevelopment authority voted 6 to 1 to approve the higher density, with commissioner West voting in opposition. The project will go before the City Plan Commission for approvals relating to its Riverwalk design.

Renderings

MMSD Bringing a River Back to Life.

The Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District is removing 1,000 feet of concrete from the Menomonee River.  When this is complete it will allow a variety of fish including  salmon, trout, walleye and northern pike to swim 37 miles further upstream.

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One thought on “Eyes on Milwaukee: City Authority Okays New Beerline Buildings”

  1. I made a mistake. I got upset with RACM. I must constantly remind myself that our very good past leadership – Norquist, Penman and Park – are gone. We are now left with average leadership or less.

    This I must remember. Still, not sure how local democracy works w/o local involvement.

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